The curse of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos lives on in Kansas City.

Bradley Roby returned Jamaal Charles's second fumble 21 yards for a touchdown with 27 seconds left last night, completing a stunning comeback for a 31-24 victory over the Chiefs.

Manning threw for 256 yards and three scores, the last to Emmanuel Sanders with 36 seconds left as the Broncos (2-0) appeared to force overtime. But on the next play by the Chiefs (1-1), Charles was stripped by Brandon Marshall and the ball bounced right into Roby's hands.

"I'm not quite sure I'd ever been in one quite like that," Manning said. "That was a new one for me."

The dramatic about-face came after Knile Davis gave Kansas City the lead with 2:27 left on an 8-yard run, raising hope among a sellout crowd that the Chiefs might finally end some curses.

Instead, Denver pushed its winning streak to seven straight over its AFC West rival, while the ageless Manning quieted his many doubters by improving to 14-1 in his career against the Chiefs. The Broncos have won 13 divisional road games in a row, an NFL record.

Charles finished with 125 yards rushing and a touchdown, but he will only remember his fumbles -- one in the red zone early in the game, the other deep in his own territory late in the game.

Alex Smith threw for 191 yards for Kansas City, but he also was picked off twice. Manning threw a pick-six of his own, but he responded when it mattered the most.

The Broncos had taken over at their own 20-yard line with 2:27 left and trailing 24-17, and the seven-time All-Pro marched them calmly down field. He found Demaryius Thomas for three long receptions to get deep into Chiefs territory, then hit Sanders over the middle on third-and-10 from the Chiefs 19 for the tying touchdown that kept the Broncos alive.

The late-game dramatics transpired after the Chiefs bolted to a 14-0 lead in their home-opener, energizing a boisterous, red-clad crowd that had been tailgating all afternoon.

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But like he has so often against the Chiefs, Manning answered by leading Denver on an 80-yard TD march late in the first half. The capper was a pass over the middle to Sanders, who slipped between the safeties and somersaulted into the end zone for the 16-yard touchdown reception.

Two plays later, Aqib Talib picked off Smith on a poorly thrown play in the flat, and the Broncos needed just four plays for Manning to find Virgil Green with the tying touchdown toss.

After swapping field goals, the Chiefs appeared to put the game away when Davis took a handoff from Smith as the quarterback fell down and raced into the end zone late in the fourth quarter.

Turned out to be not late enough for Manning and the Broncos.

------ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/AP--NFL AP-WF-09-18-15 0414GMT Denver cornerback Bradley Roby returned Jamaal Charles' second fumble 21 yards for a touchdown with 27 seconds remaining, completing a stunning comeback in the Broncos' 31-24 victory over the Chiefs last night in Kansas City.

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Peyton Manning threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns, the last to Emmanuel Sanders with 36 seconds left as the Broncos (2-0) appeared headed for overtime. But on the next play by the Chiefs (1-1), Charles was stripped by Brandon Marshall and the ball bounced right into Roby's hands.

The dramatic about-face came after Knile Davis gave Kansas City the lead with 2:27 left on an 8-yard run, raising hope among a sellout crowd that the Chiefs might finally end some curses.

Instead, Denver pushed its winning streak to seven over its AFC West rival, while Manning improved to 14-1 against the Chiefs.

Mallett will start for Texans

Ryan Mallett is the Texans' quarterback again and is ready to take advantage of his second chance. Coach Bill O'Brien said Mallett will start Sunday at Carolina.

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O'Brien said earlier in the week that he wouldn't announce a decision until game time. But after the news got out Wednesday, O'Brien decided to make it official yesterday.

Brian Hoyer beat out Mallett for the job in camp, but Hoyer was benched in the fourth quarter of the season opener after committing two turnovers. Mallett led Houston on two scoring drives in the final six minutes of a 27-20 loss to the Chiefs.

"When Ryan entered the game, he added a spark to our team," O'Brien said. "I felt like he moved the ball downfield. He was decisive, had some energy, showed good leadership."

McCown will start if healthy

Browns quarterback Josh McCown, who suffered a concussion trying to dive into the end zone against the Jets last week, is expected to be cleared to practice today. If that occurs, Mike Pettine said he will start McCown over Johnny Manziel on Sunday against Tennessee.

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NFL prepares DeflateGate appeal

The NFL filed documents with an appeals court, saying why it disagrees with a federal judge's ruling in "DeflateGate." The 200-page filing with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals consists almost entirely of exhibits from the district court. In that case, Judge Richard Berman vacated commissioner Roger Goodell's four-game suspension of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Hamstring bothers Bills' McCoy

Bills running back LeSean McCoy practiced on a limited basis after experiencing tightness in the left hamstring he injured during training camp. Rex Ryan doesn't expect the injury to prevent McCoy from playing Sunday, when the Bills host the AFC East rival Patriots. Ryan backed off on McCoy's practice time after the player complained his hamstring felt tight.